Published onCommunity Impact Report
Each year, sudden cardiac arrest occurs in 23,000 children and youth across the US. With the help of Youth Heart Watch and a partnership with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, children and others who suffer sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in a Philadelphia recreation center have a much better chance of survival.
Youth Heart Watch, a Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia program that aims to prevent SCA deaths, donated and restored automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and accessories to every Rec Center and then provided training for Parks & Rec staff so the Centers would be “Heart Safe.”
While the AEDs have instructions that guide a user through each step, Youth Heart Watch’s training made sure that the city Rec Center staff:
- have an understanding of factors that put children at risk for SCA
- can identify the warning signs of and recognize a SCA
- have an Emergency Response Plan in place at each center and know how to follow it, such as calling 911 as the first step if they suspect someone has had a SCA
- know how to confidently use the AED and perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to help save lives
- know how to and how often to check the AEDs at their site to ensure they are ready to go if needed
“Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of non-accidental death in youth in the US, accounting for 75% of all athlete related deaths. Most often, when it does occur, it’s during sports or physical activity,” says Victoria Vetter, MD, MPH, pediatric cardiologist at CHOP and Medical Director of Youth Heart Watch. “That’s why it was critical to help Philadelphia Rec Centers and their staffs be fully prepared in case the unexpected happens. Planning ahead and being prepared can save lives.”
Youth Heart Watch also provided all the rec centers with posters outlining the steps to take if someone in the facility suffers a sudden cardiac arrest, so the information is always handy.
AEDs and Training for Philly Rec Centers
150+ Rec Centers
10 new AEDs donated
147 AEDs restored with new batteries and/or electrode pads
250+ staff trained in CPR and AED use